The Corner

Danger Romper Room

Over at Wired, there’s a national-security blog called the Danger Room, written in part by one of the more jejune members of the Juice-Box Mafia, Spencer Ackerman. Together with an earlier breathless exclusive, the former JournoLista (whose wife works for the ACLU) is desperately sounding his civil-liberties tocsin over the FBI’s perfectly sensible monitoring of American Muslims. You can read the stunning expose, which will shock you to your core and weep that you live in a country like ours, here. (For a more sensible, knowledgeable treatment of a similar theme, please read my friend Andy McCarthy’s latest words on the subject, here.)

Honestly, if the Left tried to parody itself, that parody would be named Spencer Ackerman. It’s as if he was born yesterday, and just discovered that Mimi dies at the end of La Boheme, or that Hitler and Stalin were once allies.

It started out as a crimefighting tool. But over the years, an FBI effort known as “geo-mapping” evolved into something more expansive — a method to track Muslim communities, without any suspicion of a crime being committed.

Last month, Danger Room revealed that the FBI was training its agents that religious Muslims tended to be “violent” and that Islamic charity is merely a “funding mechanism for combat.” In response, both the FBI and the Justice Department promised full reviews of their training materials. But the geo-mapping effort indicates that the FBI may have more than just a training problem: The suspicion of ordinary Muslims promoted in those lectures may be spilling over into its counterterrorism tactics.

It’s hard to know where to begin, but why don’t we start with spectacularly wrong-headed premise, that the FBI lacks “suspicion of a crime being committed” in order to, you know, do its job. One might think that the murder of 3,000 Americans by radical Muslims on 9/11 would now and forever qualify at the very least as a “crime,” even by Ackerman’s definition. And his statement questioning the proposition that “Islamic charity is merely a ‘funding mechanism for combat’” is factually unexceptionable.

What lefty activists like Ackerman rely on, of course, is their SOP of universality; unless every Muslim charity is a terrorist front (such as the Holy Land Foundation) then none of them is.  Unless every religious Muslim is violent, then not one of them is. This is argumentation that would embarrass a six-year-old, but the Left uses it all the time.

It’s the inverse of what I’ve dubbed the Elevation of the Particular to the Universal, another of their little kiddie parlor tricks. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.